November 25, 2018

Christ, King

November 25, 2018:  Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

  • 'Crowns' tie:  One like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship (1st reading); "The Lord is king" (psalm); Jesus Christ is the ruler of the kings of earth (2nd reading); "Are you the King of the Jews?" (gospel)
  • 'Ruler' suspenders:  Jesus Christ, 'ruler' of kings,... (2nd reading)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  ...freed us from our sins by his blood (2nd reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Every eye will see him (2nd reading)
  • '?' tie pin:  "Are you the King of the Jews?" / "Do you say this on your own?" / "What have you done?" / "Then you are a king?" (gospel)
  • White shirt:  Liturgical color of Christ the King celebration
Today's feast reminds us life doesn't advance by chance but proceeds towards a goal:  the definitive manifestation of Christ, the Lord of history and creation.  In today's Gospel, Jesus has been dragged, bound and humiliated, before Pilate.  The religious authorities tell Pilate he wants to become king.  When Pilate asks Jesus if he is the king of the Jews. Jesus replies that his kingdom is not of this world.
After he multiplied the loaves, his followers wanted to crown him and restore the kingdom of Israel, but Jesus retreated to the mountain to pray.  In his response to Pilate, Jesus makes it clear that above political power there is a greater power not achieved by human means.  Jesus came to earth to exercise this power, love, to testify to the truth.  This truth, the central message of the Gospel, is that “God is love.”  Jesus worked to establish his everlasting kingdom of love, justice, and peace, an everlasting one, not like fragile kingdoms founded on arms and lies that collapse.
God's kingdom, founded on his love, grants peace, freedom, and full life to those who accept it.  May we let Jesus become our king, a king who by his word, example, and life saved us, points the way to the lost, and gives us new light.  He can give our life new meaning only if we don't follow the world's logic and ‘kings.’
  • Dn 7:13-14  One like a Son of man came and received glory and kingship; everyone serves him.  His kingship won't be destroyed.
  • Ps 93:1-2, 5  "The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty."  He made the world firm; his decrees are trustworthy.
  • Rv 1:5-8  Jesus Christ is ruler of the kings of the earth.  Glory to him who loves us, freed us from our sins, and made us into a kingdom, priests for his God.  He is coming, and every eye will see him.  "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is, was, and is to come, the almighty."
  • Jn 18:33b-37  Pilate / Jesus:  "Are you the King of the Jews?" / "Do you say this on your own?" / "Your own nation handed you over.  What have you done?" / "My kingdom doesn't belong to this world." / "Then you are a king?" / "You say I am a king.  I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me."
  • Creighton:  Today we're called to recognize Christ as the rule/norm of our daily living, to share his values/preferences/choices....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "God's government":  Jesus is a benevolent and sovereign Lord.  We who believe in King Jesus will spend eternity with a blessed Ruler who loves us beyond measure.  No one can imagine what he has in store for us.  King Jesus gives an eternal wedding feast; He dies for us as we kill him (Catechism 598).  Everyone has access to him.  He came to serve his subjects and lay down his life out of love for us.  Many choose to serve gods of sex, money, power, greed, ambition, status, or pleasure-seeking or are imprisoned under the dictatorship of compulsion. May we decide to give our lives to Jesus, our King and Lord.
  • Passionist:  Jesus tells Pilate he’s not the kind of king Pilate imagines.  Pilate’s world is one of competition, fear, force. Little wonder Pilate is intimidated by Jesus. Jesus had no need to cling to status. He knew who he was, and he knew that his only purpose in this world was to testify to the truth.  Forgoing force is an overwhelming, crushing decision.  At Gethsemane Peter cuts off the High Priest's servant's ear; Jesus says, “No more” and heals him.  Princes of this world use power to dominate… but to be a follower, serve, wash feet, forgive, and love enemies.  The symbolic import is that the beginning of violence is the end of dialogue.  Combatants no longer hear one another.  How do I relate to truth?  Is Jesus my Lord, my king?  Who commands my love, rules my heart?  Does a person or thing take precedence over Jesus in my life?  What motivates, possesses, thrills me, makes me get up in the morning, makes me tick?  Something, someone, nothing?
  •  "My kingship is not of this world":  Jesus was crucified for his claim to be Messiah King.  God at first didn't want to give his people a king because he alone was their King, but he relented and promised he'd establish a Ruler and an eternal Kingdom.  The Jews understood the Messiah ("Anointed One") would restore paradise and establish God's reign of peace. They wanted a King to free them from strife, division, and foreign oppression; they didn't understand Jesus' kind of kingship.  Jesus came to deliver the world from bondage to sin, condemnation, and death into the kingdom of God's justice, peace, and joy.   He knew the way to victory was submission to his Father's will.  The Father sent his Son to save us.  Jesus was mocked for his claim to kingship, but he died King of the Jews and King of the nations.  He exchanged a throne of glory for a cross of shame to restore us from slavery to glory.  If we serve the Lord, he'll open us to his truth and guide us to our true home and security with God.  Which kingdom will I serve?

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